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Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Furniture Makeover: Dated Vintage Server Before and After

A dated piece of furniture gets a fresh modern makeover with paint, hardware and a new modern base. 

I'm pretty picky when it comes to secondhand furniture that I buy or accept for free.

It definitely has to have good bones, dovetail drawers and be smoke free in order to make it worth the time and money that goes into transforming a piece of furniture. 

Recently,  I took my chances and picked up a vintage buffet that was listed for free on Facebook Marketplace.  To my surprise, it was in pretty good shape and was the perfect candidate for a modern makeover. 

Ash painted vintage server

I love the look of tone-on-tone furniture (black paint with black pulls), but since I decided to keep this piece for Paige's new basement bedroom, I opted to use my favorite color, Ash by Fusion Mineral Paint. 


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- Piece of dated furniture (sources for secondhand furniture
 - (1) 1" x 4" x 8' board
- 120 and 220 sandpaper (for sander)
- Drill 
- Small drill bit (for predrilling new hardware holes)
- Ryobi Airstrike with 1 1/2" nails 
- Mitre saw
- Screwdriver
- Tape measure
- Hairdryer (If old contact paper or drawer liner needs to be removed) 
- Moving blanket 


I've updated many pieces of dated furniture in the past, you know the ones with curvy bases and orange-toned stain?  They definitely don't fit in with my style of home decor, but they are incredibly easy to update and modernize. 

This little vintage buffet was the size I was looking for, but that curvy base and the dated finish had to go. 

vintage server before

removing dated base from vintage server

I started by removing the few screws that attached the decorative base trim to the server.  I kept the two "L" brackets and reused them to secure the new piece of wood that I added to the base. 

removing base from vintage server

After I had the original decorative trim removed, I measured the front and sides of the server then cut new trim pieces using a miter saw.  

new boards for vintage server
I applied wood glue to each piece, attached them to the server using an Airstrike nailer then filled in the holes with wood filler. 

If your new trim pieces don't match up perfectly, you can also use wood filler to fill in any other gaps and imperfections. 

applying wood glue to wood

attaching furniture base with wood glue and nailer
Once I had the base of the server rebuilt, I turned my attention to the inside of the server. 
inside of dated wood server
It was clean, but lined with a very old piece of shelf liner.  Have you ever tried to remove shelf or drawer liner from old furniture?  It's exceptionally tricky, virtually impossible and tends to break off in tiny pieces, which can be super frustrating. 

Thankfully, there is a super easy trick to make the process of removing drawer liners quick and painless.  Simply use a hairdryer to heat up the liner (work in small sections at a time) then slowly peel the liner away from the wood.   Any remaining glue residue can be removed with mineral spirits or by sanding. 
removing old drawer liner with hairdryer
After I had the base rebuilt and the shelf liner removed, I lightly sanded the server, wiped it clean then applied two coats of Fusion Mineral Paint in Ash.  I didn't seal this piece (Fusion paint doesn't need to be sealed), but you can always apply my favorite satin finishing wax or water-based poly if you prefer added protection.

Hardware is my favorite part of furniture and in my opinion, can completely transform the style and look of a piece.  For this server, I opted for black bin pulls and round knobs to give the vintage server a sleek modern update. 
Ash painted vintage server

dovetail drawers on vintage server

painted inside of update vintage server

painted vintage modern server

It's kind of hard to believe this once old and dated server was a FREE Facebook Marketplace find! 

I'll be moving the freshly updated modern piece into Paige's new basement bedroom where it will be used as her new TV stand.   

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before and after of painted vintage modern server

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Would you like to comment?

  1. I love the transformation with just a little removal/addition of the bottom pieces and that beautiful paint....Great Job Katie!

  2. Such a pretty color. Great job on the base also.

  3. Looks fantastic! I've recently started using Fusion paint and love it!